Getting Back the Lost is an animated graduate thesis film with a total running time of 7 minutes and 13 seconds. The film is about a girl seeking hope in a ruined and destroyed environment.

Nowadays, the global environmental problem, which is due to human activities, is becoming increasingly serious. Human beings have overused natural resources in a continuous and reckless way, without caring about their harmful and detrimental effects on this earth. Getting Back the Lost is a story that takes place in a former land of oil extraction and production. It is a place that represents what the rest of the world is like – desolate, dangerous, and highly polluted. It is devoid of others, except for the main character of the story, a girl who lives alone in the only place that has some nature left. There’s only one tree standing in the whole area that protects a tree house where the girl lives as she is performing experiments on the planting of seeds.

In the beginning of the story, the girl, who is almost robot-like, is trying to find a way to plant seeds in the polluted ground around her to save her small piece of land. Her experiments are failing. The plants she grows are dying. She also finds she has run out of seeds to plant new vegetation and so she needs to obtain more.

The girl ventures beyond her safe area to explore the destroyed world around her with the hope that she will find more seeds somewhere. As she travels further and further away from her home, she journeys onto the “ruined land” on the other side of the mountains where petroleum fields and factories are deserted and in ruins. She comes upon a site that shows traces of recent human occupation, and she finds seeds and collects them. The girl rushes away from this place because of an unexpected earthquake. During her way back home, the seeds she has collected in a bottle fall out, leaving a trail of seeds behind her. When she arrives at the door of her home, she realizes the seeds in the bottle are gone. She looks back in the direction she ran and sees the seeds spread out on the ground. She feels extremely sad when she finds this. But the seeds on the ground suddenly sink into the earth and magically grow into small plants, and then the whole area becomes green.

Getting Back the Lost is a 3D animation with a 2D graphic style. It is produced primarily in Autodesk Maya, The Foundry Mari, The Foundry Nuke, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro.

This paper outlines the entire film creation process from the idea development through the final post production stage. It describes all my intentions, obstacles, failures and successes, as well as the technical specifics of the process.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Computer animation--Themes, motives; Computer animation--Technique; Animated films--Themes, motives; Animation (Cinematography); Environmental degradation--Drama

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Imaging Arts (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Film and Animation (CIAS)


Stephanie Maxwell


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TR897.7 .L489 2015


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes